Trusting in Jesus in Difficulty

It’s easy to imagine that because Mother Cabrini founded 67 missions in 40 locations across three continents, everything went smoothly.

The reality was that nearly every mission began with challenges. This did not trouble Mother Cabrini in the slightest. Her attitude toward obstacles was rooted in her certainty that if she did the will of Jesus, and only his will, she had nothing to fear.

“It is wonderful to find one’s self in difficulty,” she wrote in 1896, “It is the only way to induce our good Jesus to lead us by the hand or let Him do everything.”

Mother Cabrini’s Challenge in Chicago

Photo of Missionary Sister in Chicago dispensaryMother Cabrini arrived in Chicago to prepare the opening of Columbus Hospital in 1905. With the inauguration scheduled merely two weeks away she wrote, “I found there were two more months of work to be done!”

Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and masons worked feverishly to bring the huge stone building up to date. Every room had to be adapted to the latest hygiene standards. The task of organizing medical personnel was equally daunting.

Rumors abounded that it could not be done in time. The specter of public ridicule loomed. Despite round-the-clock labor on the part of the Sisters and workmen, Mother Cabrini wrote that “the work seemed to increase instead of decrease.”

Trusting in God

Mother Cabrini’s response to this kind of challenge was simple. “If we want a miracle from the Lord in our necessities, we must first perform the miracle of being perfectly and trustingly surrendered to his goodness.”

To Mother Cabrini, the difficulties at Columbus Hospital were a sign that the new foundation had been sealed with the cross. Her surrender to the Sacred Heart was complete and she was at peace.

The Formal Portrait of Mother Cabrini

“Firm trust in the Heart of Jesus kept us calm and, amidst this tranquility, the work was quickly and well done,” Mother Cabrini wrote to students at her teaching college in Rome, “It was a great day for the new Columbus Hospital. We called it ‘The Day of the Lord,’ as it was all His work.”

Four thousand people crowded into the chapel and reception rooms to hear Archbishop Quigley speak. Several thousand more were turned away for lack of room.  Following the homily, the archbishop read a telegram from Rome conveying the Holy Father’s blessing upon the enterprise. Mother Cabrini telegraphed back her thanks.

One benefit of the grand opening was that the Doctors’ Committee of the hospital insisted on a photograph of Mother Cabrini. She disliked having her picture taken, but reluctantly agreed.

“I hope this is the last one I have taken in my lifetime,” she confided to one of the Sisters. Although it was not the last, it is perhaps the most famous.

St. Frances Cabrini, pray that we may open our hearts wider and receive the miracle of being perfectly and trustingly surrendered to the goodness of Jesus.

© 2015 St. Frances Cabrini Shrine.
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